Thursday, September 30, 2010

Doggystyle: Floor Cushions for All

Since we're living in a smaller condo with 2 large dogs, it can be challenging to have a comfortable dog space without us feeling like we're living at a doggy daycare. One of our biggest solutions has been to have a series of floor pillows and sheepskin rugs scattered throughout our home. These give the dogs "bases" throughout the house so they understand where they can lay. Even our guest dogs flock to these pillows and understand this is a dog designated zone.
We loved this floor cushion from West Elm, and bought duplicates for both the bedrooms.
Any 20x20 version is big enough for the pooches. Sometimes, they can even fit 2 pooches at one time:
They are easy to keep clean and hair-free with removable covers and frequent vacuuming. At my old apartment Miss M had a silk pillow I brought back from Thailand, and even with her sharp claws she didn't  snag it. We've also spied this version from Ikea, the bold square from CB2, this one and this one from Target, and this one from West Elm.
The funny thing is, that although we thought we were making these accommodations for the pooches, we've actually found ourselves using these cushions to sit more often on the floor. The floor cushions are perfect around our round cocktail table, and I like using our ottomans as impromptu desk extensions:
I've been using the spot to work on my Asus. Though whenever I get up she's quick to reclaim her spot and snoop on my computer:
At least she finds it amusing:

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pooches: Daily Walk in 10 Pictures 09.29.10

On one of our daily walks this past weekend, the pooches had an epic battle with a giant stick. It all started when Ms. M found this giant stick lying around
and decided to make it her hiking stick.
Mr. B comes up with the bright idea to challenge Ms. M for the hiking stick.
Eventually Mr. B comes out the victor
but quickly found himself sharing the stick with Ms. M.
Halftime: there was a break in the action, when they found some new smells in their hood.
All of a sudden, action resumed and Mr. B took off with the stick with Ms. M hanging on for dear life.
Eventually they were on equal footing
but in the end, Ms. M was the victor, now stuck with carrying the stick back home. This was almost as exciting as the Bears - Packers game.
All of these pictures were courtesy of a camera phone.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Doggystyle: Accidentally Dressing like Your Dog

Being big fans of dog rescue groups, we are always happy to buy t-shirts to support the groups and promote pit bulls. I was especially excited to find these t-shirts from Bad Rap which have a Miss M. doppelganger! Although I kind of feel like it's overkill when I'm wearing the shirt AND walking her at the same time. Usually I wear it when she's not around.
E has this "My Best Friend is a Pit Bull" shirt
which I feel can be worn when walking your dog. The outline resembles Mr B, but it doesn't look like you planned to purposely match your dog.
Miss M trying to look like the dog on the shirt:
We also like this Staffy Outline shirt from Broken Hearts, Mended Souls Rescue in Missouri.
 And this I pit New York shirt from Rescuzilla in New York City:
I know The Kabrachers are currently working on some t-shirts. Does any one else have some good rescue t-shirts to share?
UPDATE: And Nashville Pitty just got their shirts up on Cafe Press. They even used some pictures with Miss M and Mr B!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Pooches: Mr B's Chicago Marathon Training

This summer I've been "training" to run my 7th marathon. At the beginning of the season, I had high hopes that Mr. B would keep me company on some of my shorter, less exciting runs. Unfortunately, with all of the hot weather, Mr. B decided he would really rather spend his energy doing this:
But now with this cool weather rushing in, Mr. B has rebounded and is back to his old self. "Bulldozer Mr. B" has returned with even more pent up energy. I decided to take him on some of my shorter maintenance runs. These are typically only 3 miles. Since Mr. B hasn't really been running a lot, I decided to treat him like a novice runner with a slower pace and a run-walk type of program. But like most first-time runners, Mr B was way too excited and went out like a roaring stallion:
For the past couple of weeks I've actually been doing some 20+ mile long runs on the weekends. I do really enjoy these because I run along the Chicago Lakefront path running along the beaches, through Navy Pier, and I even discovered the new butterfly field on the south lakefront. For Chicago-people familiar with the area, I've been running from Wicker Park to the lake, along the lakefront past the Museum of Science and Industry, then back home. So in comparison, my 3 mile runs are kind of boring. I was happy to have Mr. B accompany me, and these were some of the things we saw on our short run.
Skyline view from our neighborhood:
Juxtaposition of new stores in old architectural buildings:
Over the Chicago River. Sometimes there are kayakers in this river, and they've even found alligators a little further north.
Graffiti bridge:
 Looking up at downtown buildings:
After the initial excitement, Mr. B did calm down a bit. I was careful not to make him do too much too soon, and he was quite tired when we got home and passed out on the floor. And being the drama queen that she is, making sure Mr. B didn't steal her attention, Miss M had to dramatically sprawl out right next to him:

Friday, September 24, 2010

Daily Walk: Compliment

Last week, a neighbor stopped me while I was walking the dogs and asked me about their breed. At first I wasn't sure how to answer, because I didn't know what she was going for. Eventually, I told her that they were pit bulls and she replied that that's what she thought. Then she said that our dogs are so well-behaved and she wanted to compliment me on our pooches. She loved how they sat so nicely at curbs and didn't lunge at dogs that were barking at them.
All of this was completely unexpected and it really made our day. The neighbor was bitten by a dog at a very young age and she is completely terrified of dogs, and yet she came up to us while pushing her daughter in a stroller to ask us about our pooches. I told her that A went through a lot of training with Ms. M, 
but Mr. B is just a very obedient dog that loves to please people. It was amazing to get an unsolicited compliment, especially from someone that is afraid of all dogs. However, we feel that this compliment was also in large part to our now extended group of friends, all of you. We started this blog years ago on a whim to document our life together for our friends to read.
We never thought that we would make so many new friends because of this blog. A loves reading all of your blogs and spends hours keeping me informed about daily occurrences. She gets excited when good things happen and very concerned when setbacks occur in your lives. Also, we are thankful for all the great comments on our posts, they have been helpful and informative and has greatly impacted and improved our lives with the pooches. We are so grateful that we were able to meet some of you in person. Thanks so much for maintaining your blogs, we really do learn a lot from what you write and we love reading about your dog as family.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Doggystyle: Fashionable & Functional Food Bowls

When I went to visit my sister in Memphis, I was really impressed with how she decorated her new house, and I thought she was especially clever to use real bowls to have cute feeding bowls for her kittens. Too often pet bowls are either too unattractive, or you have to pay way too much for nice-looking bowls.With so many inexpensive people bowls, I think it's a great idea to find cute bowls and repurpose them for our pets.
We don't leave our pet bowls out, but I think if we did, I might use these modern serving bowls from CB2. We actually have these bowls to display fruit and they are really sturdy and fairly large. And if we had a smaller dog, or a cat, maybe these bowls.
Right now Mr B uses a standard silver bowl, and Miss M. uses this pink bowl we bought from Target a few years ago. Miss M likes to have pink things to overcompensate:
I've also heard it's important that dogs should eat from raised dog bowls to eliminate the possibility of getting bloat. What kinds of bowls does everyone else use?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pooches: My Pooches are Family in 10 Pictures

It is officially the end of summer and the fall starts today. We are quite sad that our days will become shorter and the weather will drastically become colder. However, Mr. B is looking forward to Halloween, where he can wear his fancy turtle costume. The Bad Rap's Pooches are Family contest got me thinking about all the stuff we did this summer as a whole family. This summer, we made sure to spend most of our days exploring Chicago, because we went through such a miserable winter.
We had a great summer going on very long walks around the neighborhood
and loading up the pooches
to head out to almost every street festival and the Pride Parade.
We met up with great, dedicated people at New Leash On Life's reunion at Wrigley Field and
took some pictures of the pooches posing in front of their favorite team's logo.
Lucky for us, we were able to foster a great dog, Wilma. We had a great few months taking her around Chicago.
Ms. M loved that she had a new pooch to boss around.
...until next summer.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pooches: Required Training per Breed

I think one of the most positive things about adopting a bully breed was that their negative reputation really scared me into being over-responsible. I never wanted to own a pit bull , and when I first adopted Miss M I was still a bit nervous about owning a bully breed. Not to mention that many of the articles I read kept reinforcing how her breed wouldn't back down from a fight, then showed repeated historical pictures of American Bulldogs clinging to the backs of bulls.
This all forced me into training overdrive where I enrolled Miss M. in every training class possible, treated every walk like boot camp, and kept strict rules around the house. Luckily, Miss M loved rules and training, which has taught her restraint, a large variety of tricks, earned her a Canine Good Citizen certification, and she has even learned to pick up her own toys and put them away in a bin on command. You can see a video of her cleaning up by clicking here.
At the same time, I know if I adopted any other type of dog I really wouldn't have put this much time and energy into training. I think in this way a positive reputation can work against a breed. Many people believe because they own a certain breed, their individual dog will be just like that positive stereotype. Unfortunately, this isn't necessarily the case and we have had several experiences with ill-mannered dogs in our neighborhood who are from positively stereotyped breeds. Plus, the only two times Miss M has been attacked were by large dogs both typically found on the "family-friendly" list.
In this way, the negative stereotype actually became a positive for us. Have you noticed positive or negative stereotypes impacting people's behavior with certain breeds?
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